Recently in our family we had to make a difficult decision about having my stepson, his wife and her family visit us for the Christmas holidays. We live in New England, where the number of cases has recently skyrocketed. The numbers are unimaginably high for us but they may seem low to other states. My loved ones were planning on driving up from New York City.
Recently I turned eighty and feel quite vulnerable to the Coronavirus. I don’t go out very often, usually only to my wife’s art studio to do some webinars. I haven’t been in a supermarket since last March, except once in the summer when cases were very low.
Now the family really wants my stepson and his wife’s family, whom we love, to come for Christmas. But I have been listening closely to our governor imploring us not to have family members visit from other places for the holidays. I think it is very dangerous. This virus not only makes you sick. It can kill you in a few days with a painful, lonely death. I don’t think it is worth the risk to have people from far away visit, even with testing and quarantine and gathering outdoors. Not all my family members agree with me. I love them very much, so it is difficult to say what I think.
My stepson called the other night explaining why he thought it would be safe for his group to visit us. I would love to be with him and his wife’s family, but I still think it is too dangerous. I feel strongly about it. So I wrote to him telling him my concerns and suggesting that they come after the situation has been more resolved or when the cases are low. I feel bad to have written that email. My family doesn’t entirely agree with me. I can’t sleep at night thinking it through.
But my wife has been supporting me, even though she doesn’t seem to agree with me either. She respects my clarity on the matter.
She recommended that I write about this challenging situation, thinking it might help other people. I have to stand firm in my strong position, though I am sorely tempted to betray it. I am sure it is the best way, even though I hate the thought that I am disappointing my family so much. I think this is the proper decision, and I am firm in expressing my views.
I hope my resolution of this painful problem might help others work out the issues for themselves. In general, I believe we have to have the common good in mind as we make decisions that go against our feelings of love and affection. I will certainly respect other solutions to the problem, but I have to be honest about my own position.
The Coronavirus makes unusual and strong demands on us. It requires our courage and sense of values. We can’t succumb to sentimental feelings or even solid emotions about important relationships. We have to think of the larger picture and protect others. This is a time for courage and clear thinking, a time of strict values and a strong feeling for the needs of others. We need to be intelligent and firm.
I do feel challenged to distinguish between weakness and resolve. I think we all have to rise above personal emotions and any hint of self-interest. Our main concern should be the protection of other innocent and vulnerable people. We also need the courage to take care of ourselves, even when our decisions are not popular.
I hope you find your way through these thorny issues as you look for a solution. I only recommend that you stay strong, think clearly and keep your loves intact.